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Need for Weed: Seniors Smoking Marijuana

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- There is a growing trend of seniors lighting up and smoking marijuana because they believe it is better than their prescription drugs, with less dangerous side effects.

"I call it the new don't ask, don't tell," said Amy Cavinaugh.

Cavinaugh started using marijuana five years ago after having a double mastectomy from breast cancer. She used the illegal drug to fight off nausea from chemotherapy.

"I did find it to be very effective," said Cavinaugh.

At the time she was living in a retirement community in Ocean Ridge called Crown Colony, and behind the gates, she says more seniors are using pot than you might think.

"I knew people who were 90-years-old and 70-years-old and were getting it from their children or grandchildren," said Cavinaugh.

The topic of medical marijuana is taboo. Those who use it usually bake with it. Smoking is too smelly and obvious and rarely is it discussed openly.

"It's very common and if they are sitting around having a cocktail hour they will talk about it amongst themselves," said Cavinaugh.

"I have the dubious honor of being America's longest serving prisoner in federal prison for a non-violent marijuana offense," said 68-year-old Robert Platshorn.

Platshorn served a nearly 30 year sentence. He was released three years ago and moved into the 55-and-over community of Golden Lakes in West Palm Beach.

"After a week or two playing tennis and meeting people, they began to come to me one by one," said Platshorn.

People would tell him they use medical marijuana to help with everything from arthritis to terminal illness. One 72-year-old man asked Robert for help because his wife was suffering from MS.

"He begged me, he said please I don't want to go to the street, if I go to the streets to find marijuana and I get arrested who is going to take care of my wife," said Platshorn.

Platshorn felt helpless, so he's now creating the Silver Tour. It is a seminar targeting seniors teaching them about medical marijuana. His goal is to create a large voting block that will support it at the polls.

However, attitudes are already changing. Last month the Pew Research Center asked people about medical marijuana, overall 73 percent are in favor of legalizing it. 77 percent of 50 to 64-year-olds support it and 63 percent of 65-and-older want it legal.

"I have met people from all different walks of life using it," said Platshorn.

Amy Cavinaugh says even more would support it if they've had her experiences. Her husband Keith died four months ago. He used marijuana for chronic pain but developed Leukemia. Inside the hospital he was not allowed to have marijuana and she says an addiction to prescription pain pills is what ultimately killed him.

"I believe that it was totally caused because he was no longer in a situation where he could use the cannabis," said Cavanaugh.

The argument to legalize marijuana is louder than ever, but until a law is passed seniors will continue to use this illegal drug quietly.

  • Thank You to Rubivroom for submitting this article

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: cbs12.com
Author: WPEC - CBS12.com
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Freedom Communications
Website: Need for Weed: Seniors Smoking Marijuana
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